The North Dakota Public Service Commission dealt a blow Friday to Summit Carbon Solutions’ effort to build a 2,000-mile pipeline to transport liquid carbon dioxide through five states, rejecting the company’s proposed route through the state.

The commission concluded that Summit “failed to meet its burden of proof to show the location, construction, operation and maintenance will produce minimal adverse effects on the environment and upon the citizens of North Dakota,” according to the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order that was approved by a 3-0 vote.

In addition to the pipeline, Summit plans to store the carbon dioxide in North Dakota.

In a statement, the company said it “respects the decision by the North Dakota Public Service Commission, and we will revisit our proposal and reapply for our permit.

“We're committed to understanding and incorporating the considerations outlined in the decision [and] are confident that our project supports state policies designed to boost key economic sectors: agriculture, ethanol, and energy."

PSC Chairman Randy Christmann said after the meeting that Summit could reapply, and he emphasized that his own decision on the case “is not indicative of my opinions regarding CO2 sequestration or importation of CO2 via pipeline. This is only about this project, in this location, under these circumstances.”

In the decision, which was drafted by Christmann, the commission said Summit had been unable to show that the project was “compatible with environmental preservation and efficient use of resources.”

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“The project's impact upon agriculture and livestock will be at an acceptable minimum,” the order said. But it added that Summit had not “taken steps to address some outstanding legitimate impacts expressed by some individual landowners during public comment” or shown why rerouting of the pipeline was not feasible.

After the meeting, PSC commissioner Sheri Haugen-Hoffart said continues "to believe that ag and energy both have a place in this state and that we can work collaboratively together."

Summit is facing regulatory proceedings in others states where it has sought approval. Iowa, for example, is holding an evidentiary hearing that starts Aug. 22. 

The company said last month it had “partnered with nearly 2,500 landowners across our project footprint who have signed 4,115 voluntary easement agreements accounting for 71.5% of our proposed route,” or about 1,250 miles of the total of about 2,000 miles.

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